I decided to add an SSD drive to one of my lab ESXi boxes; so I can utilize the Host Cache features, and test out the VMware VSAN beta (which requires SSD). I simply mounted an SSD drive into an HP caddy, booted into HP Offline Array Configuration Utility, made a RAID0 (with only one drive it is the only option), booted into VMware.
ESX did not recognize the drive as an SSD drive. There is a way to force ESX to categorize a drive as SSD, but do I really want to do that? To me if the system doesn't recognize it, there must be underlying issues.
Turns out it is a bug in the Smart Array P400 Firmware when using Vmware. Also it was discovered that this RAID card when dealing w/ SATA devices will only transfer at 1.5Mbps, where SAS is 3Mgbs. Interesting, so will there be much of an improvement it the SSD drive is limited by the 1.5Mbps connection? Also the P400 does not have trim support.
-attach the SSD drive to the onboard SATA control off of the motherboard, and find a way to MacGyver a way to mount the drive inside of the case but not in the hot swap bay. Oh wait, there isn't any onboard SATA connectors!
-Buy a PCI/PCI-e SATA card, and MacGyver the drive mounting.
-Use an PCI-e SSD drive. Will a consumer grade card work with ESXi? Paying for an enterprise card on the VMware HCL for my lab use is not an option.
-Upgrade the P400 to a P410. Will the volume just be recognized? Second hand cards, with cables, and battery run over $150.